Telstra and Ericsson deploying Cat M1 IoT network

Ericsson will deploy a Cat M1 IoT network across Telstra's 4G network in Australia, with trials of smart agriculture applications in Melbourne and Tasmania already under way.
Written by Corinne Reichert, Contributor

Telstra and Ericsson have announced that they will be deploying a Cat M1 Internet of Things (IoT) network across the country, with trials already under way in Melbourne and Tasmania.

The announcement, made at Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona on Sunday, is in partnership with device providers Sierra Wireless, Altair, and Bosch. One of the trials has seen them collect data from sensors at Pooley Wines in regional Tasmania, including leaf wetness, soil moisture and temperature, rainfall, solar radiation, and wind speed and direction.

The sensors were connected to Telstra's 4G Cat M1 network using a Sierra Wireless AirPrime embedded module on Altair's Cat M1 chipset.

Once Cat M1 solutions are commercially available, which is expected during 2017, Telstra said it would be supported across its 4G network covering 98 percent of the population powered by Ericsson's Massive IoT network software.

"Building Cat-M1 services for IoT using the scale and standardization of the 3GPP roadmap allows the rapid rollout of Cat-M1 through a new network software activation and provides the ideal platform for a proliferation of IoT devices and applications," said head of Telstra Networks Mike Wright.

"Cat-M1 meets the demands of LPWA (Low Power Wide Area) IoT applications. Advantages include low cost, low power consumption, deep coverage, massive numbers of connections, and high reliability of transmission. Cat-M1 can enhance LTE coverage for underground and in-building areas that challenge existing coverage.

"Combined with Telstra's existing leading LTE coverage, customers can deploy a range of near real time applications in logistics, utilities, medicine, transport, mining, agriculture, manufacturing and many more."

Telstra and Ericsson also used MWC to unveil their plans to conduct 5G new radio (NR) trials, provide an update of Telstra's network virtualisation, and deploy an optical network transformation and expansion nationwide.

Ciena, Sierra Wireless, Altair, Qualcomm, and Bosch are all contributing to Telstra and Ericsson's "Network of the Future" program.

Earlier this month, Telstra launched its gigabit-capable 4G mobile network in Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane, allowing users with compatible devices to attain speeds of up to 1Gbps. The 1Gbps network will be launched in Adelaide and Perth later this year, with more areas set to join in future.

Telstra said it would upgrade its standard 4G network to 300Mbps speeds for 80 percent of its footprint by 2019 with Ericsson, using such network technologies as 256 quadrature amplitude modulation (QAM), 4x4 Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (4x4 MIMO), and carrier aggregation across spectrum bands.

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